By The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says the fact his party is now in a leadership race doesn’t mean the Liberal government will get a free ride in the House of Commons.
He says a minority government means no day can be wasted to show Canadians his party is the one that best represents their interests.
Scheer made the remarks to Tory MPs and senators today as they meet to plot strategy for Parliament’s return on Monday.
The caucus retreat comes at a time when many Tories are plotting their own strategies for how best to replace Scheer.
At least three sitting Conservative MPs are launching leadership campaigns and another former MP, Peter MacKay is snapping up support from many others.
But Scheer is expected to remain leader of the party until members choose a new boss on June 27, and he must now set a course on the Opposition’s priorities in the minority Parliament.
He highlighted three areas sure to face Opposition scrutiny: the upcoming federal budget, a looming to decision on whether to approve a new oilsands mine and promised Liberal legislation banning military-style assault rifles.
The Conservative caucus meeting follows a week of major developments in the leadership race: former Quebec premier Jean Charest, former interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose and current MP Pierre Poilievre — all potential front-runners — decided they won’t launch bids.
MacKay will formally unveil his campaign on Saturday, while current MP Erin O’Toole is also expected to launch his in the coming days.